Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss feels success in the Six Nations is not guaranteed, despite their recent form in the Test arena.
Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss feels success in the upcoming Six Nations is not guaranteed, despite their recent form in the Test arena.
After three successive victories – two against Southern Hemisphere giants South Africa and Australia – expectation levels are growing given Ireland’s current seven-match winning streak.
But there are reminders that a good November Test series does not automatically transfer to a successful Six Nations Championship.
“It’s pleasing to get the results but we’ve been in the game too long to know that it doesn’t guarantee us anything over the horizon,” Kiss the Irish Rugby Union’s official website.
“It doesn’t guarantee us anything for the Six Nations. It is what you do leading up to that and how you deal with the reality in that moment.
“While it is good to reflect on a job well done in terms of the results, we are not going to be fooled by that. It was three or four years ago France had a terrible November and then went on and won a Grand Slam.
“You can’t predict those things are going to guarantee you anything going forward.”
Ireland beat the Springboks and Wallabies in the same year for the first time since 2006, while the series also saw opportunities grasped by new caps Jared Payne, Dominic Ryan, Dave Foley and Robin Copeland as well as two assured performances in the centre by Connacht youngster Robbie Henshaw.
Following Ireland’s 26-23 victory over Australia, Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika stated that he knew how Ireland were going to play heading into the match. He said his side faced ‘a rain of bombs, a lot of high kicking’ when speaking about the tactics deployed by the hosts.
However, Kiss feels there is a lot more to come from this Irish side, explaining that they are ‘working on all parts of our game to build some variation there’ and that he does not think they are a ‘one-trick pony’.
“In the Six Nations (this year) we used the ball in hand a little bit more,” he added.
“This time we kicked a little bit more, maybe some of it was according to plan, maybe some of it was because players read the situation as it was and we’re just trying to build a more complete way that we can evolve our game as a whole,” he highlighted.
“I’d be reticent to say it’s in one particular area. I think it’s a combination of things and I think it’s a strength or our team that all parts work together, and sometimes some parts aren’t as good as they can be while other parts have to work harder to negate any negative effect in that area.”
One area of Ireland’s game that disappointed at times in the series was the line-out with eight losses from 30 throws.
Kiss is not too concerned as he feels the fruits of new forwards coach Simon Easterby’s labour will be seen in the Six Nations.
“Simon has really put another different level on the line-out,” explained Kiss.
“It didn’t come through but that doesn’t mean it is not in a good place. Paul (O’Connell) and Simon have worked really hard building their options.”
Asked about Ireland’s evolving attacking strategy, the Australian responded: “I think it’s important to realise the game as a whole. It may not please you, the answer, but like defence, it doesn’t work in isolation to other parts of the game. They all contribute to each other.
“Set pieces are not built around just winning the ball or stopping them taking the ball, it’s part of the connected strategy of what it does to the opposition or what it provides for you.
“It’s hard to just isolate one area and to forensically look at it that way. It’s in combination with a lot of things and that’s the way we prefer to approach it.”